The summer we turned thirteen by Kayla Maria – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book The summer we turned thirteen by Kayla Maria to review.

The summer we turned thirteen by Kayla Maria

Here is the book blurb.

Harlee Ramirez and James Whitmire have been best friends since they were nine years old. Harlee is bold and brazen, while James is shy and reserved. In some cases, such opposite personalities may repel, but not in theirs. Their differences make the dynamic of their friendship special. So special, Harlee always believed they were untouchable, unbreakable, and that no one and nothing could come between them. But the month before Harlee and James’ thirteenth birthdays, James proves otherwise. He ends their friendship, without even giving Harlee so much as an explanation as to why. Harlee is hurt, confused, and angry, that James could just throw their friendship away like that. Regardless, Harlee is relentless and not willing to take this lying down. She will do anything it takes to win back her best friend. But as she tries to, she begins to wonder if their friendship is even worth saving or if growing up really does mean growing apart.

This book is aimed at young adults, but the story can be enjoyed by both older and younger readers too.

The story begins at summer camp when Harlee and James are aged nine. The chapters alternate between being narrated by Harlee or James.

James is very shy, doesn’t want to be at summer camp and is being bullied. Harlee stands up to those bullies and they become best friends. The story fast forwards almost three years to a month before both Harlee and James will become thirteen. James has texted Harlee to end their friendship? Why? And can Harlee win her best friend back?

This is a delightful story conveying both the important message against bullying and how things can change as children grow up. It also weaves in other themes such as fear, relationships, poverty and peer pressure.

The summer we turned thirteen is available on Amazon, currently priced at £2.29 in Kindle format and is also available in paperback. A great story and I am very pleased to see that the author has hinted that there will be a follow-up book, featuring Harlee, James and their circle of friends.

About the author

Kayla Maria is a twenty-one-year-old author that loves creating inspiring and relatable content for the youth. The Summer We Turned Thirteen is her first published project, first published on Wattpad where it has amassed over 20k reads. She aspires not only to entertain with her writing but also to uplift, encourage, and inspire readers to discover themselves and make the world a better place.

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14 thoughts on “The summer we turned thirteen by Kayla Maria – book review

  1. sarahmo3w

    This sounds like a really good read which I think my daughter would enjoy. A few months ago, when she was 13, a couple of her ‘friends’ turned on her for no reason and school has been difficult ever since (she’s so happy not to be there at the moment). I know she would really relate to this book.


  2. Susan B

    Glancing at the cover and title instantly reminded me of River Phoenix in the coming of age film Stand By Me. The plot of this book sounds excellent. Thanks for the review.



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